History of the Sands Point Golf Club
A farm there was in Cow’s Neck, as the area was known at the turn of the century, owned by the brothers Cornwell, William and Walter, and farmed by their tenant, Peter J. Mahoney. It was destined to be a great golf course. In a house located where the cottage behind the 18th green now stands, lived William and, in another, on the site of the present 13th green, Walter. Some of the apple trees which shaded the homes are still there. Peter’s house was that long occupied by Howard Dietz. The produce barns were located where the present stables are and the carriage barn on the site of the present Club House. Farmer Mahoney grew truck garden vegetables which he washed in the carriage barn before taking them to market in New York City, a day’s journey by horse and wagon in those primordial days.
In 1918 the Cornwells sold the property to a New York lawyer named George E. Reynolds, of the Reynolds Tobacco Company family, who built the first 9 holes of the present golf course (now the back nine). Reynolds operated the Harbor Hills Country Club which had a brief existence before the property was acquired by Julius Fleischman in 1921.
In 1922 Fleischman built a polo field where the present practice field is.
The barns he converted into a stable for 24 polo ponies and the carriage barn into a 4-car garage with a suite over it. He replaced the William Cornwell house with the present cottage, but not before Jim Jeffries had used it as a training quarter for his boxing match with Jim Corbett. (Reynolds had already demolished Walter’s house.) The polo instructor and referee, James Cooley, occupied the old Mahoney farm house. In that year Fleischman imported from England and planted as 4-foot saplings the beautiful Linden trees which now adorn the grounds between the Club house and the 6th green.
On the polo field were heard the thundering hooves of the horses of such all time greats as Tommy Hitchcock, Devereaux Milburn, Watson Weeb, Laddie Sandford, Roger Strawbridge, Jr., J.P. Grace, Winston Guest, Eric Pedley , Pete Bostwick, Ogden Phipps, Averell Harriman , and many more.
Harriman, later to become Governor of the Empire State, was the leader of the group which formed the Sands Point Club on March 16, 1927, under the green and gold banner. Averell Harriman was its founding father and guardian angel to a degree rare in the annals of clubs. To him it turned in every crisis and his word was final in all matters great and small. Not that the other members failed to take great interest in the Club; on the contrary, the archives indicate a multiplicity of committees, at least three of which, Membership, House, and Golf (which included Greens, Tournament and Handicap) met regularly and kept complete records of their deliberations. But the decisions were, in the end, Harriman’s. Typical is a peremptory letter to Captain Ernest Carter, the Club’s Secretary and General Manager, from John H. Ward, assistant to Harriman at Brown Bros., Harriman and Co., dated April 9, 1936:
Dear Captain Carter;
Mr. Harriman has asked me to inform you that Mr. James Forrestal of Dillion, Read and Company has
agreed to join the Sands Point Club on the basis of $150.00 dues per year.
Very truly yours,
John H. Ward
Assistant to Mr. W.A. Harriman
If Harriman was the Club’s “father” Captain Ernest F. Carter deserved to be considered its “mother” for he hovered over it, like a hen over its nest, for the first 15 years of its existence. During this entire period Carter was the Club’s secretary and manager and literally devoted his life to it. The Club’s files are replete with minutes and correspondence reflecting these activities for he attended all Board meetings and all Committee meetings, kept complete, careful minutes of all, and corresponded continuously on all matters concerning the Club with Harriman, whose good right arm he was. Carter was also a great golfer who long held the course record for members- 65. He resigned and became an Honorary Member in 1942, and has since gone to his Maker.
The omission of the word “Golf” from the corporate name is significant for the emphasis continued to be on polo through the 20’s and 30’s. Here were developed the teams which represented America successfully against such polo-playing nations as Great Britain, India, Arabia, Argentina and Mexico. Some of the polo players were excellent golfers. Hitchcock was one of the few pro or amateur, who could reach the 601 yard 14th hole in two shots. With the advent of World War II polo was discontinued, never to be resumed. The House Committee minutes of February 5, 1941 record its demise:
“John B. Morgan Chairman, reported that it had been decided to pull the polo grandstand down, there
being no further use for the same.”
The birth of the Club is recorded in the following letter from Mr. Harriman, inviting 20 outstanding contemporary sportsmen to form the original membership:
My Dear Mr.______________________
The Sands Point Holding Corporation has purchased the estate of the late Mr. Julius Fleischman, located
at Sands Point, Long Island, for Six Hundred Thousand Dollars. This property consists of approximately
one hundred and twenty five acres of land with buildings and improvements thereon suitable for a golf club
and has on it also a fully developed and playable nine hole golf course, together with nine additional holes
partially completed. The property also includes the polo field, well known as “Fleischman’s Field”.
It is contemplated that the property will be leased for golf and polo to the Sands Point Golf Club, Inc., a
membership corporation. The membership of the Club, it is intended, will not exceed one hundred and twenty-
five in number. Membership will be Three Thousand Dollars, covering the purchase of one share of stock in
Sands Point Holding Corporation and will entitle the holder thereof to a proportionate equity in the land.
The annual dues will be the amount payable as annual rent to the holding corporation.
In the opinion of the Board of Directors the land, exclusive of buildings, golf course and polo field, is at
least worth the amount of the purchase price. At the present time a committee of five has underwritten the
Club to the extent of Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand Dollars. A Committee has made a careful study of
the maintenance and upkeep of the Club and is of the opinion that the revenues provided will be sufficient
to cover expenses.
It is planned to rearrange the present course and to complete the additional nine holes. Mr. A. W. Tillinghast,
the well known golf course architect, has made an examination of the property. He reports that an excellent
golf course can be had with the terrain available and he will be commissioned to carry out this work. The
completion of the course will not interfere with play on the present nine holes.
The polo field, known as “Fleischman’s Field” will be under the complete jurisdiction of Messrs. W. Averell
Harriman, Thomas H. Hitchcock, Jr., J. Cheever Cowdin and A. Charles Schwartz. It is planned, in conjunction
with the Polo Association, to have invitation games of high class polo once a week during season, which will
be open to the public.
The Board of Governors has selected twenty original members who will form the nucleus of the Club, each
of whom will subscribe to two certificates of stock in the Sands Point Holding Corporation. It is intended that
one of these certificates will be repurchased from each of the original members after the certificates assumed
by underwriters have been taken up by regular elected members.
It gives me pleasure to invite you to become one of the original members of the Club in the above basis, and
in the event of your acceptance I shall be pleased. If you will mail your check, together with the enclosed
card to Ellwood W. Kemp, Jr., Treasurer, at 247 Park Avenue.
Very sincerely yours,
W. A. Harriman
The first Board of Governors were:
Henry B. Anderson
J. Cheever Cowdin
W. A. Harriman
Thomas H. Hitchcock
Ellwood W. Kemp Jr.
W. M. Wright
The first officers were Harriman, President; Camp, Vice President; Bloomer, Secretary and Kemp, Treasurer. Among the other early members were Cornelius Vanderbilt, Bernard Baruch, Irving R. Berlin, Arthur Brisbane, Walter Chrysler, Harry Guggenheim, Fred H, Haggerson, Mrs. William Randolph Hearst, Edward F. Hutton, John LaGatta, William S. Paley, Stephen Sanford, Paul Sheilds, John M. Schiff, Herbert Bayard Swope, John Hay Whitney, James V. Forrestal, Robert Lehman, John Sanford, Marshall Field and Elisha Walker.
A Committee of five underwrote the Club to the extent of $250,000. They were Harriman, A. Charles Schwartz, Max Fleishman, Elmer Schlesinger and Alexander A. Forman. The estate of Julius Fleischman held the first mortgage and Forman the second.
An affiliated corporation, which held title to the property, named Sands Point Holding Corporation, had the same officers.
A prominent golf architect, A. W. Tillinghast was retained to revamp the first 9 holes and complete the second 9 at a cost of $40,000 pursuant to a proposal which he addressed to the Club’s first legal advisor, Henry B. Anderson, on April 3, 1927, as follows:
Dear Mr. Anderson,
Accompanied by your superintendent, Ericson, I made a careful analytical examination of your club property,
and have the following to report.
The land is particularly interesting, presenting a good terrain for golf and with a soil condition peculiarly
suited to the development of fine true turf. But as it is laid out you can not anticipate a really good
course by any development of the present holes without changes.
In presenting my suggestions, I have no intention of urging an exceedingly long or difficult course, but rather
one which will be interesting and pleasurable to play; certainly one worthy of the excellent land. Although
your available tract is not great in acreage, it surely will yield a distinguished course of approximately
six thousand yards without the necessity of acquiring additional property. As planned now there is a great
waste and at the same time an unnecessary crowding in some instances, which results in extreme danger
The total distance, if correctly estimated, is but 5375 yards, over 600 yards short of the minimum yardage
we want. In View of this and the general mediocrity of holes (as a collection) I advise against the expenditure
of any money solely to whip these into shape. Any plan which provides for seven one-shot holes can never
be given consideration. Briefly summing up I answer your queries in this way.
Is the property worthy of modern course? Most assuredly.
Is the present plan good? No. It is very bad.
Can you provide a plan for a distinguished course on this property without encroaching on the polo field?
What will this necessitate? An entire revision and the construction of probably fourteen greens but without
losing present fairways or water lines.
What will be the probable cost eventually to develop an entirely satisfying course along the lines that
your plans will require? Approximately forty thousand dollars for the construction costs, including
materials, labor and necessary landscaping development.
It gives me pleasure to report most favorably on the possibilities at Sands Point, and I hope you will
decide to make your course entirely worthy.
Very truly yours,
On July 19, 1928 lawyer Anderson, in his other capacity of Chairman of the Greens Committee, joyously advised the members that the golf course would be “open for play” on July 21, 1928.
The club was hardly under way when the great depression of the early 30’s struck. A “rich man’s” club, it nevertheless operated almost constantly with deficits which were usually met by Harriman and a few other generous members. The Club’s files are full of desperate entreaties from Carter to Harriman for money to meet pressing bills. Finally on January 25, 1938 the Club Treasurer advised the members that the holders of the first mortgage had foreclosed and the Club was without funds, as follows:
“TO THE STOCKHOLDERS OF
SANDS POINT HOLDING CORPORATION”
The holders of the first mortgage on the premises owned by Sands Point Holding Corporation commenced
an action to foreclose their mortgage on the 4th day of June, 1937, and subsequently judgment of
foreclosure was made and entered on the 10th day of December, 1937. The sale of foreclosure has been
noticed for the 28th day of January, 1938.
The corporation deems it advisable that its stockholders be advised of this situation and for their convenience
the officers have had to prepare a balance sheet giving the effect of the loss of the property on foreclosure.
Copies of these are within enclosed.
Very truly yours,
Rueben J. Ross
But the deceased Fleishman’s sister, Mrs. Christian Holmes, generously allowed the members to continue to use the property at no cost. The old Club was dissolved. A new one, the present “Sands Point Golf Club” was formed on November 1, 1940. Its rebirth is recorded in the following letter to members of the old Club from Secretary Carter:
This letter is written to you as a former member of the Sands Point Club.
The Sands Point Club was dissolved in the fall of 1940 and a new Club known as the Sands Point Golf Club
was organized and is now in operation with new officers, Board of Governors and committees.
This Club is entirely free from debt and will function under a satisfactory lease as a going concern.
The Club offers a first class golf course with complete water system from tee to green, Tennis Courts,
Riding Stables with horses for hire and facilities for boarding. Skeet shooting layout, Badminton Court,
and in addition Croquet Courts and Lawn Bowling rinks will be constructed on the polo field for use this
Twenty-five additional members will be admitted and we sincerely hope we will have your application for
which purpose we are enclosing an application blank.
Upon request we will be glad to send you all information regarding dues, membership classification, etc.
Yours very truly,
Ernest F. Carter
In that year George N. Richard, who had become a member in 1934, was delegated (because he was a friend of Carl Holmes, son of Mrs. Christian Holmes, sister of Julius Fleischman) to endeavor to purchase the property for the Club, which he did for $175,000, as compared to the pre-depression cost of $600,000 and indeed reasonable by today’s standards, but George Strickland, affluent dean of Port Washington’s taxi drivers, relates that he was once offered the old farm for $7,000!
The war years were survived largely through the efforts of a few such stalwarts as B.C. Black, A.C. Schwartz, George N. Richard and R.E. Burger and others. Moreover, there was no sack cloth and ashes; even in this period the Club sported a receptionist-hostess, a Miss Murry, and a doorman.
As the war ended, with the Club’s membership down to about 60, William T. Dunn persuaded a group from the Lakeville and Plandome Country Clubs to join Sands Point. They include Howard S. Nilson, Frank B. Gravenn, E.H. Luchs, Robert Townsend, Carl Treist and Lloyd Aspinwall, Jr. This group was instrumental in attracting others to the Club and long was a forceful element in it. Among these were Loraine E. Miller, W. Nelson Doyle, and J.E. Sedlmayr, perennial Chairman of the Tournament Committee from 1949, when he succeeded Townsend, to 1965. A little later a few members of the Manhasset Bay Yacht Club, including Robert Ferguson, Joe Wheeler, George Hinman, Arnold Monetti and Harold E. Gray, joined the club and brought in others from the Yacht Club so that there were some 30 members who were also members of Manhasset Bay Yacht Club.
With the repurchase of the property the emphasis turned to golf, although skeet shooting continued as an off- season sport where in the early 30’s the clay pigeons were thrown by hand. Skeet shooting, too, lapsed during the war but was revived circa 1954 under the chairmanship of Lloyd Aspinwall, Jr. aided enormously by Carl Triest. It was not, however, until the advent of Jay Jackson in the late 50’s that the lodge was erected, automatic target throwers installed and attention lavished upon the Skeet Club. In the 60’s, skeet continued to thrive as an important off –season activity under the leadership of Jay Jackson, Don MacFadden, and Ed (Beau) Beaucamp, all of whom were great shots. Both Jackson and MacFadden are in the 100 Straight Club and Beauchamp in the infamous 98 Straight Club.
As the years progressed new leadership emerged in the form of Bob Trunz, his late brother Charles and Joe Wheeler. This team guided the skeet activity into the ‘70’s, when the baton was again passed, this time to, Michael Henahan, our current chairman. Over the years Mike has been ably assisted by strong committee men, but none more dedicated than the late Al Cohen and currently Joe Cortese, who energizes the Skeet Club as few people have done.
In recent years a number of members joined the 100 Straight Club; Henry Smith, Don Lopez, Tony Sainato, with a Club record of 375 straight and Tom Stacey to mention a few.
Today, on any weekend between golf seasons, the flag may be seen flying proudly over “Fort Jackson”, surely among the most impressive skeet facilities in the nation. While there is occasional grumbling by a winter golfer, disturbed at the top of his backswing by a gunshot, the only reported accident, perhaps apocryphal, involved a skeet shooter struck in the derriere by a badly hooked golf ball.
Lastly we acknowledge and thank our past and present range managers; Ray Plunkett, his son Bill, Scott Vinarski and current manager Keith Faticone. All, professionals dedicated to making the Skeet Club a safe and enjoyable activity.
Not all activities were revived. Riding, badminton, tennis and croquet, once regular activities, like polo, have vanished.
The Sands Point Land Company, Inc. was formed in 1940 with George Richard as President, a position he retained, serving with diligence, until it was dissolved in 1964. To help finance the repurchase, Nicholas M. Schenck loaned the Club $100,000 at 2% interest, without amortization. The original stockholders were only 6 but the number increased as the membership grew. Still, in 1954, 8 members owned 43% of the outstanding shares, while resigned members and the estate of a deceased member owned 8%. The situation was becoming unhealthy and under the administration of R.E. Burger, Richard with legal guidance from Allan D. Emil, who formed the Land Company, devised and eventually put through a plan whereby no member could own more than 10 shares of stock, and should the member resign, he would have to offer the stock first to the Land Company, and should he die his estate was bound to do so. Although the property was then valued at considerably more than when purchased, the original stock holders agreed to turn back their shares to the Company for what they paid for them, and agreed to purchase 10 shares for $1,500. Others who had bought at par did likewise. Members who paid $150 a share simply exchanged their old certificates for new ones. Considerable success was obtained in buying back shares from non-members. The Club was in a safer position.
By this time the membership had grown back to about 80. Additional facilities were needed and in the administration of Rea A. Axline, President from 1958-60, they were provided. Lockers and showers and Pro Shop were added and the Men’s Grill, which had heretofore served as Grill and Locker Room, was redecorated and became just Grill. The kitchen was enlarged and modernized.
It was just about this time that a 14 year old, Rick Haldas, began to spend summers at his grandmother’s house on Orchard Street in Port Washington. From there, Rick made the daily walk to the Club to caddie. In between loops, Rick worked in the Pro Shop and eventually tutored under old-time pro Al Brosch. At 21, Rick obtained his PGA Membership and in 1976 succeeded the late Al Brosch as Head Golf Professional. Committed to the Club and its members, Rick continues to provide valuable advice for aching golf swings and friendship to a much appreciative membership.
Now it was time to go to work on the Golf Course. It has always been a great one, the monstrous 14th having been rated an All-Metropolitan par 5, but the deep traps were expensive to maintain and somewhat passé. Under the presidency of Howard S. Nilson, who generously resumed office for 1963, despite having served a 3-year term years prior hereto, and with the dedicated Greens Chairman, Charles M. Trunz, in direct charge, the course was redesigned along modern lines by Frank J. Duane of the firm of Robert Trent Jones, and generally improved, so that today it would rank with any on Long Island. To finance these improvements and to liquidate the Schenck indebtedness, a mortgage of $140,000 was placed on the property and an assessment of $450 levied against members.
During Nilson’s administration, with powerful aid from William A. Shea, (Bill), on whom the Club had long leaned heavily for legal advice, the Land Company was liquidated and its assets transferred to the Club. Former stockholders of the Land Company received certificates of membership in the Club, which are not negotiable or transferable except to the Club and at a price to be determined by its Board of Governors. The Club was finally safe, it seemed.
There remained from the 1963 financing sufficient funds to improve the Club House, too, and in 1964, under the direction of Porter O. Daniel, long-time Chairman of the House Committee, a room over the front office was added and considerable remodeling, redecorating and refurnishing was done on the upper floor from the front to the back of the south side of the Clubhouse.
In 1965, under the administration of Arnold E. Monetti, it was determined by vote of the membership to switch nines so that the first hole is now the 10th. This permits the use of the Club House in lieu of the half way house, thereby avoiding the expense and trouble of maintaining a halfway house. The old 11th was also regarded as a better starting hole. Some 400 trees and shrubs were planted, the beautifying effects of which are now apparent.
With the Clubhouse expansion completed and the golf course re-structured, it was time to find a point of difference for the Club that would delight its members and further enhance its reputation for quality. As the summer of 1966 ended, Bill Shea used his power of persuasion to lure Chef Domagoj Bakija (Dom) away from the Sands Point Bath and Racquet Club. Dom who arrived in America in 1962 from Croatia had worked at the world famous Four Seasons and Plaza Hotel before moving to Long Island. Unlike most Club business which slowly evolves, Chef Dom was hired on the spot by a very savvy Club Manager, Ted Van Cott, who also understood Bill Shea’s power of persuasion. With Dom’s arrival French Cuisine was introduced and Eggs Benedict and homemade Hollandaise sauce became a weekend rage among members. Almost 40 years later, the membership continues to be pampered and delighted by the fine foods prepared and served from Executive Chef Dom’s kitchen.
In 1967, under the administration of Charles M. Trunz, with valuable legal aid from Carlo Salvador, a well was put in at a cost of $40,000, thus eliminating forever the problem of obtaining sufficient water from the Village.
Then, came “the fires.” In 1968 a fire of undetermined origin leveled the cottage behind the 18th green. While this was disconcerting it had little effect on the Club’s operation as the building was insured and a new and better one quickly erected.
However, a little more than a year later, on March 29, 1970 ( Easter Sunday), disaster struck in the form of a second fire, also of undetermined origin, which demolished the Club House, a cruel blow from which the Club was long in recovering.
Insurance was in effect for both buildings and contents and also to defray the cost of continued operations pending construction. The current President, Robert G. Ferguson, appointed a Building Committee consisting of Roy C. Olson, as Chairman, Joe Wheeler, Charles M. Trunz, Lewis Schott, Carlo Salvador, Richard Dirkes and Elliot McCormack with Percy Uris as Consultant. Olson had served as President from 1968 and 1969 and now, as Vice President was admirably qualified, both from his experience with the Club and as a retired officer of the Otis Elevator Company. Working as a team with Joe Wheeler, who had also spent a lifetime in the construction business, the two gave daily supervision to the task, first providing temporary quarters in the barn and second of constructing a new Club House.
But a strong arm was required at the tiller. It was provided by Shea, who had in the past managed to avoid the Presidency but rose to the occasion when he was really needed and served for 3 years, with Lewis M. Schott as Vice President.
Schott then served two years as President and put the Club in the black for the first time in many years. In 1964 the Club enjoyed its first period of full membership and prosperity. With the fire it faced the prospect of maintaining its membership in time of economic recession and without a Club House. The members were assessed $1,500 with the option, which all exercised, of adding this to the cost of their stock. The mortgage was increased by $133,000, and the insurance collected with the help of Carlo Salvador and others.
By Anthony R. Brescia
With the Clubhouse fire behind us, the 1970’s became a decade of rebuilding, solidifying and once again enjoying the “specialness” that embodies the Sands Point Golf Club. Under the leadership of Bill Shea and Lew Schott and assisted by a talented posse of individuals that included past Presidents Charles M. Trunz and Robert G. Ferguson, past and future President Roy C. Olson and House Chairman John Nicholson , the Shea/Schott combination provided the stability and direction necessary for a prosperous decade. Membership grew, as the camaraderie of friendship, golf and good times prevailed.
In 1983, the mantle of leadership was passed on to Michael F. Henahan. During Michael’s nine year tenure as President, the Club remained true to its character while embracing “modest” change. Most notably was the initiation of phase one of a golf course renovation program with the purpose of re-capturing many of the elements of the original A.W. Tillinghast design. Under the fastidious eye of Green Chairman Mario P. Tribuno Jr. (“Tribby”) and efficiently executed by newly hired Golf Course Superintendent Richard Raymond, modifications and improvements were completed at modest expense. Using aerial photographs of the original Tillinghast design, assisted by famed golf course architect Ron Forse and the playing experiences of long time member Dr. Edmund Goodman and pro Rick Haldas, greens were re-stored to original shapes and sizes and were once again guarded by infamous Tillinghast bunkering. This change in condition and play was immediate. In August 1993, the Club hosted the MGA Amateur Championship. The championship was won by a young New Jersey man by the name of Jeff Putman.
It was also during this time that the Club formalized its Caddie Scholarship Fund. For years members had donated generously to the Long Island Caddie Fund. It was now time to formalize this gifting and to also take care of our own. In 1988, the Sands Point Scholarship Fund was created and then guided by long time Sands Point resident and Club member Albert Cohen. The Scholarship Fund is now entering its eighteenth year. To date, the members have given almost $400,000 and distributed one hundred seventy three scholarship awards. These awards are given to employees and their children. In addition, each year, the Club continues to make a contribution to the Long Island Caddie Scholarship Fund. In 2002, the Club decided to rename the Fund to honor the memory of its guiding patriarch. Today we know it as the Albert Cohen Scholarship Fund.
Robert G. Trunz (Bob) assumed the Presidents mantel from 1992-1995. During Bob’s tenure the Club operations continued to run smooth and efficiently. Never a stickler for ceremony, Bob’s gregarious personality was, and continues to this day to be well appreciated. Under Bob’s direction, the golf course renovation entered phase two, plans for a new maintenance facility were initiated and the Club’s positive financial outlook stayed the course.
In 1996 Peter J. Maguire was elected President. Peter served in this capacity until 2001. Straddling Sands Point tradition but with an eye toward the future, Peter with valuable assistance from Stephen Walsh (Chairman of the Membership Committee) led a movement to attract younger members. Also during this time, it was agreed to execute phase two of the golf course renovation program. A more structured plan was developed by famed architect and authority on Tillinghast golf courses, Geoffrey S. Cornish. With Golf Chairman Al Weis at the helm, much of Tillinghast’s emphasis on precision shot making, along with subtle undulations and contours around green side bunkers continued to be added back into play. Once again Golf Course Superintendent Richard Raymond proved to be invaluable in efficiently executing the plan. At about the same time, a full scale modernization of the irrigation system was initiated and completed. Also, it was on Peter’s watch, that the club erected a new maintenance facility adjacent to and below the 7th green. Credit for eyeing this small parcel of land so the structure would fit the character of the Club and within its terrain goes to Board Members Michael Henahan, Mario Tribuno and noted architect William N. Bodouva (Bill), who’s watchful eye ensured the two story structure was built on time and on budget.
Albert M. Weis (Al) became President in 2002, after serving five years as Vice President. A benevolent leader, Al has two loves that are outside his cherished family. They are golf and the Sands Point Golf Club. During Al’s tenure as President, additional character and challenge was added to the golf course by continuing to build “Tillinghast” contour into greens, greenside aprons and bunkers.
Al, along with Dr. Robert T. Grant (Green Chairman), was also instrumental in the development of a two acre reservoir behind the practice range and directly in front of the 13th tee. While originally a bit controversial in nature, this four million gallon “pond” is an ideal solution that allows the Club to pump water into its irrigation system at rates and times most conducive for watering to maintain the healthy growth of turf. In 2004, the Club also expanded the outside patio area to enhance its exterior look and accommodate more casual dining.
Clubs are people – among those who contributed greatly to Sands Point are some of its past Presidents. W. Averell Harriman, William T. Dunn, Carl I. Wood, John F. McEnulty, John T. Gibbs (de facto), Maurice Newton, R. Eugene Burger, Howard S. Nilson, Rea A. Axeline, Lloyd Aspinwall, Jr., Arnold E. Monetti, Charles M. Trunz, Roy C. Olson, Robert G. Ferguson, William A. Shea, Lewis M. Schott, Michael F. Henahan, Robert G. Trunz, Peter J. Maguire, Albert M. Weis and the incumbent Stephen Walsh. Among its Treasurers were Ernest F. Carter, Rueben H. Ross, Ellwood W. Kemp, R.E. Burger, Dale Parker, Henry Eastman, Frank B. Graven, Frank B. Carbone, Joseph Amato, Robert G. Ferguson, Carlo F. Salvador, Frank D. Williams, Robert Z. Rosenthal, Dennise J. Carey, Jr., Thomas E.S. Hodgson, Robert Brady, Richard J. Weinberg, Joseph Saggese and the incumbent Jay Scansaroli. Among its Secretaries, Vance Bushnell, Jr., William May Wright, S.B. Irlan, Joseph Amato, Robert H. Wessman, Hugh D. Brown, J.E. Sedlmayr, David B. Chase, Felix Zaremba, Michael F. Henahan, Edward N. Madison, Thomas E.S. Hodgson, Kenneth Tully Stephen Walsh, Robert Brady, Richard J. Weinberg, and the incumbent Dr. Robert T. Grant.
There have been some great golfers – Captain Ernest F. Carter, T. Suffern Tailer, Robert Sweeney, Gordon Stott, John R. Lyons, Frank B. Graven, Felix Zaremba, Gino and Diane Scalamandre, George J. Zahringer, III and Jack Nick, Jr. to mention a few at the risk of overlooking many.
In addition to out current pro Robert Gick, the Club’s Pros have been Frank Dunn, Robert Hunsich, Stuart Maiden, Frank Weber, Harold Sanderson, Fred Gronauer, Buck Luce, and Al Brosch, who won eternal fame by the 60 he shot at Brackenridge Park, San Antonio Texas, the lowest score ever posted in a PGA championship tournament until 1977.
Among the Club’s Managers were Captain Ernest Carter, Jerry Roche, Martin Lyons, Ted Van Cott, Peter Stanley, Stephen T. Fischl, Jr., Jack Blank, David McLaughlin and presently Gregory J. Smith. Roche, long a devoted servant of the Club, will be remembered for the 175 yard approach he holed out at the then 18th after instructing the caddy to go forward and hold the pin lightly as he would do just that.
The Sands Point Golf Club retains to this day, though to a lesser extent, its characteristic’s as a men’s golf club, distinguished for its small membership and fraternal atmosphere. The present membership includes diverse personalities of entrepreneurs, lawyers, doctors, dentists, bankers, brokers and corporate executives with one common denominator, GOLF.
N.B. The foregoing feeble attempt to record the origin and development of a great club is attributed to a conviction on the part of your historian that they would otherwise soon be lost forever. In fact, some is already irretrievable, although a surprising amount of information was found in the Club’s own records. The principal source of material for the period when the property was a farm is one of our old caddies, Bill McQueen, who as a boy personally planted the linden trees referred to above. To George Richard and Howard Nilson I am largely indebted for some of the post- 1934 material. It is sincerely hoped that as this comes to the attention of readers who may be in a position to add to, or correct to, they will do so in order that future versions may be more accurate and complete.
Club Evolution: Special thanks must be attributed to past presidents Michael F. Henahan, Robert G. Trunz, Peter J. Maguire, and Albert M. Weis, Domagoj Bakija, Golf Professional Rick Haldas, and Golf Course Superintendent Richard Raymond. Their experiences and memories made it possible to capture this period of time.